Thursday, August 11, 2011

Someone saved my life tonight...

Someone saved my life tonight

You're a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, fly high
-Elton John, "Someone Saved My Life Tonight"

One year ago today, my son had open heart surgery. One year ago today, we celebrated the fact that he came through surgery without complication. One year ago today, I breathed a sigh of relief and said prayers of gratitude that he was going to be okay.



Little Rocky knows he's got to learn to fight big battles

Then one year ago tonight, my world turned upside down. To say that he nearly died simply doesn't do justice what happened to him that night. He died. His heart stopped beating on its own and he stopped breathing. For an hour and a half. His life was saved because some amazing doctors and nurses rushed to his side and pounded on his chest, performing CPR until he could be placed on life support. For over an hour and half. While Derek watched just a few feet away from the chaos.

The things I remember of that night are like photographs that can't be erased. Running onto the floor of his hospital, down to his room, the eerie quiet of a hospital in the middle of the night. I can still see through the window to his room as the charge nurse, Kim, did chest compressions. The nurse caring for the patient next door who brought me a warm blanket - I could pick her out of a lineup to this day even though she was never our nurse. The necklace that Dr. Barbara Jo was wearing with little baby shoes on it. The bags and bags of trash that housekeeping cleared out before they would let us in. As they unwrapped drug after drug and tool after tool and sterile instruments for surgery, all that stuff got tossed on the floor, and it was literally ankle deep all around the room. The blood, my baby's blood, spattered everywhere. The cap Dr. Hanna was wearing as he wheeled him off to the cath lab. The way Dr. Hanna took his cow lovey from me, rubbed it gently, and tucked it under Jay's arm. The desperate way I cried over and over again, "Dear God, please save him. Please help him." The heart-shaped tiles on the floor of the hall. I can see it all so clearly, as if I'm sitting here looking at it right now.

I'm told that the horror of that night will start to fade. It hasn't yet - in fact, I feel this pit in my stomach just writing about it and allowing myself to go there in my mind. I remember in snapshots, and I still have a whole album of those awful images. And they are as clear as can be. Time heals a lot of wounds. Anniversaries of impossibly hard days open those wounds back up again.

I'm told that he would remember nothing of it, and I believe that to be true. Maybe that's just because I want to believe it. Now, what he remembers is the playroom. And the Drexel Dragon. I'm thankful for that.

I wish I knew how to process what he went through - what we went through. I wish I understood miracles and why they happen sometimes. And why were were blessed with one. I won't pretend it's because I have some great faith or that I somehow deserve one. I wish that by telling our story, it made more sense to me. It doesn't. This world is full of chaos, and sometimes things just don't make sense. I wish that I could put into words the rainbow of emotions that I've felt this week. Anxiety, relief, gratitude, frustration, sadness, and joy - all wrapped up like a rubber band ball, tangled into layers. It's too much to understand, too much to describe.


Holding that sweet boy for the first time in weeks.

The last scar-free pic of his little chest - no wonder he woke up wanting to go swimming!

One step in the OT/PT/Speech journey back to where he is today

I cannot express how much the support of family, friends, church, and internet strangers meant to me during those first awful days and the long weeks that followed.

THANK YOU.

I am incredibly grateful for the way that you buoyed our spirits, cared for our physical needs, made sure we knew we were loved. I am incredibly grateful for the exceptional care we received at CHOP. But most of all, I'm incredibly grateful that we brought home a perfectly healthy, perfectly happy, perfectly perfect little boy. It is nothing short of a miracle.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I woke up today with the thought "what a difference a year makes". You have put into beautiful words what we all were and are feeling about this miracle we were apart of...we are SO BLESSED! I love you the best - AJ

Joye said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us on such a big, big day. While I wouldn't wish those albums full of snapshots on anyone, I'm so glad that you and I have someone we can flip through the pages with.

Many tears, and many thanks, this morning for where that sweet little boy is today.

Love you guys!

Mindy said...

Love to you all . . . today and always!

Anne said...

You made my cry first thing this morning, but that's OK. My heart goes out to you as you celebrate this year anniversary. Thank you for your emotions and your wonderful, gifted way of describing everything.

Jamie said...

Today we are celebrating Jay's story... and especially all those wonderful people at CHOP who helped make his story a happy one. We love you guys!
Jamie and Jeff

Jennifer Thompson said...

I have thought so many times lately the anniversary of Jay's surgery and the aftermath was approaching. It is such a blessing to see that sweet smiling face on Sunday mornings. I have grown to just adore your son, who is delightful, smart, and funny. Every interaction I have with him is a pleasure... After 24 years in teaching, there's not many kids I can say that about. Praise be to God for his recovery!

Anonymous said...

JAY HAS BEEN ON MY MIND ALL WEEK AND ESPECIALLY TODAY. AS I READ YOUR BLOG I CRIED AS I REMEMBERED THE AGONY OF THAT NIGHT AND THE DAYS THAT FOLLOWED. I AM SO THANKFUL TO GOD FOR ANSWERING OUR PRAYERS AND THE PRAYERS OF SO MANY PEOPLE. GOD RESTORED JAY BACK TO HEALTH AND HE IS A VERY SWEET AND SPECIAL GRANDSON. THERE IS NO JOY TO COMPARE TO HIS SWEET VOICE SAYING "I LOVE YOU GRANNA".

ANAPatterson said...

Reading this makes me remember every night we as a family would sit down to read this blog and talk to Payton about what was going on and we would talk to God at meal prayers and bedtime prayers asking to be with the doctors and surgeons and the Foster Family and Especially little Jay who had so many people waiting to here he was fighting like the Champion he is. And also praying for all of his friends there at CHOP who were going through similar things.
We are praising God he is doing so wonderful and growing and has had such a great recovery. We save all of our pull tabs on sodas for RMH and we think of Jay and the Foster Family every time we do it. Hugs to you all.

Anonymous said...

I don't check into your blog as much as I did a year ago, but I remember reading your blog so often at work with tears of sorrow and joy. Sorrow from first hearing of Jay's heart stopping and the efforts of the CHOP staff working on him for so long. Then the tears of joy hearing of our prayers being answered as we prayed for each new challenge for Jay to master. Praying for the right coumadin cocktail, his walking, his eating, his bloated tummy, among a few. I checked your blog quite often a year ago. I am so grateful to the Lord for this miracle. As to why He gave this miracle? Someday we may understand, but I do know we need to thank Him. An anniversary of his "second birth life" is a good way. LY- Aunt Ali

Anonymous said...

My little one asked just the other day about "Baby Jay", and it opened up a conversation and prayer about Heaven, miracles, and the way God loves and protects all His babies. Saying prayers of joy and peace for you.-Melissa

C said...

Watching Jay play on Saturday just brought the biggest warmth to my heart and smile to my face. He is an amazing kid and you are an amazing mom. Big hugs and lots of love!